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As I'm helping my wife with her resume, I've hit a question. She went to college for about a year and a half but did not finish her degree.

What's the best way to show that on a resume?

jhack's picture

Don't fake it, don't hide it:

"2000-2001, Coursework in Psychology at Univ. of Whatever"

Just a thought - anyone else?

John

thaGUma's picture

Age is a big thing - was it long ago? Experience counts.
Also the reason for non-completion is important.

TomW's picture

She's 30 and been at the same company for seven years with a promotion about every 18 months. Her experience is pretty solid with a lot of good results (though you never would have known it from what her resume looked like before I started bugging her about it and rambling on about Manager Tools and listing results!).

The problem we are seeing is that a lot of positions "require" an accounting or finance degree. I wonder how serious that requirement is.

She didn't complete it because she just really didn't like school.

jhack's picture

Of course, she must be honest about it.

Unfortunately, companies do filter on whether a candidate got the degree. It is an indicator of "stick-to-it" mentality, of valuing credentials, of willingness to conform. One does learn important things in school (accounting and finance are filled with arcane and important rules)

So indicate the coursework, don't misrepresent the incomplete, and accept the reality that she will miss opportunities.

Has she considered returning to night school or community college to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree? Many folks find school more tolerable after they've spent time working.

John

TomW's picture

[quote="jhack"]Has she considered returning to night school or community college to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree? Many folks find school more tolerable after they've spent time working. [/quote]

I have encouraged her to, but she hasn't. She knows the lack of degree affecting her career and it does bother her that she never finished. We had talked about an associate degree as a starting point just so she can claim some kind of degree, but I think part of the problem is that she's not really sure what she wants to do in her career and doesn't want to commit to an adult degree that she won't use. She also saw me struggle though my bachelor's while working full time and doesn't want to work that much.

Anyway, I think I at least have the answer for the resume.

Thanks!

svgates's picture

I think she should stop wasting her time on a resume and launch a business that ends up so successful that she's the one filtering the resumes. All she needs is a good idea.... hmmmm...... :wink:

US41's picture

Education is most important in your 20's. There are qute a few CEO's out there with no degree. Very few have advanced degrees. I would just list it like this:

1996-2000 University of Bangladesh - Major: Psychology

And that's it. Let the interviewer care about whether or not she got a degree. They may not.

In fact, many jobs have a requirement for this certification or that one, but they really are just "reaching for the stars" and trying to discourage people of little experience. Still apply, and often you will still be hired.

asteriskrntt1's picture

I see a number of people doing the following:

Label it as "in progress"

or...expected/targeted graduation, 2010

that serves as a nice talking point and lets her talk about it in a positive light (I was always getting promoted etc) instead of being defensive about it.

*RNTT

lefonquey1's picture

I am in the same boat as your wife and had a similar discussion with Wendii when I submitted my resume for her review... best money I ever spent, by the way.

Anyway, I asked her how I should list my education. She called Mark directly and here is her response:

"I discussed your education with Mark. His thoughts were: It is VERY dangerous to put down a school without a degree. He certainly can't put down a major...at best, School of Engineering. Nevertheless, I would recommend, rather than number of credits, percent of degree completed while at XYZ University.

You will be asked about this in an interview. and should have a clear, concise reason for not completing which you can deliver with equanimity. You will need to be very well prepared for your interviews, as not having a degree will always put you behind those who have. "

So, I listed my education as:

1996-2004 XYC University, Some Crazy College of Business, Somecity, OH, 75% degree completed.

ashdenver's picture

FWIW, I've listed mine as:

University of Colorado at Denver, Junior standing, expected graduation Spring 2011

(I just need to update mine every year! LOL)

[u]Btw, side-note[/u]: is the "Golden Key International Honor Society" worth the $70 for adding to one's resume? Or is that like the "Who's Who in American High Schools" - as long as you pay, you're in, therefore, utterly worthless?

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="ashdenver"]
[u]Btw, side-note[/u]: is the "Golden Key International Honor Society" worth the $70 for adding to one's resume? Or is that like the "Who's Who in American High Schools" - as long as you pay, you're in, therefore, utterly worthless?[/quote]

Focus on accomplishments ash. Unless the society is a _professional_ organization relating to the position *I* do not pay much attention.

Just my $.02

saluki's picture

I think it would be a huge omission to not indicate you are pursuing a degree. Obviously I would note that it is in progress. If you have one page to sell yourself and you have the initiative to pursue a degree of any sort while working full time why wouldn't you include it?